1.) Carlos Silva needs a fresh start–with the Cubs.
2.) Bill James’ 2011 projections for Cubs starters.
3.) Rich Harden, Kyle Farnsworth & Corey Patterson.
1.) I get the feeling many Cubs fans have given up on Carlos Silva. No doubt the guy’s had a terrible spring, and he’s done little, if anything, to back up his macho talk since the Cubs Convention in January. With a little more than two weeks until Opening Day, Silva’s gone from competing for a rotation spot to simply competing for a job–in the bullpen. Time to cut your losses, right?
Well, I haven’t given up on Silva as the Cubs’ fifth starter. Sure, he’s been dreadful in Mesa, but the guy showed real promise last year before health issues ended his season early. So does a bad spring mean he’s washed up? I don’t think so.
I think all Silva needs is a fresh start with Chicago. His spring has been a mess since his first outing and dugout mishap with Aramis. That seemingly led to another bad outing and more press that Silva’s rotation spot was in jeopardy. Now the rumors are flying on whether Silva will even make the team, or if he’s even worth the $8M dollars. No way any of this is helping Silva’s confidence.
I know the Cubs have good young pitching prospects. And I know many Cubs fans would love to see the kids like Cashner and Russell get their chance instead of Silva. But my gut says Silva still has something left in the tank. Enough for a 12-win season, which is ideal for a fifth starter.
Cashner and Russell in the bullpen won’t hurt the Cubs, either. It’s critical the Cubs have a strong relief corpse. Who knows how long Woody stays healthy or if Samardzija will ever come around? A weak bullpen was the early demise of the Cubs in 2010. Cashner and Russell can prevent such a scenario this season. But for this to happen, Silva must make good on a second chance at the rotation.
2.) Bill James’ 2011 projections for Cubs starters:
Zambrano: 14-11, 3.67 ERA
Dempster: 12-11, 3.83 ERA
Garza: 12-11, 3.80 ERA
Wells: 11-12, 4.12 ERA
Silva: 6-9, 4.80 ERA
Coleman: 6-7, 4.11 ERA
Samardzija: 1-2, 5.03 ERA
Diamond: 3-4, 4.66 ERA
3.) Rich Harden’s pitched eight years in the majors. He’s been on the DL nine times. He made $7M with the Cubs in 2009 when he pitched 12 games going 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA. But Jim Hendry wisely cut ties with Harden following that season, presumably due to Harden’s enormous price tag and inability to stay healthy long-term.
The Rangers, however, inexplicably signed Harden the following year for a whopping $6.5M. He went 5-5 with a 5.58 ERA in just 18 starts. Well worth that $6.5M salary, eh?
Now Harden has returned to his roots in Oakland where he spent the first six injury-plagued seasons of his career. The A’s spent $1.5M to sign him, and wouldn’t you know, Harden is out again due to injury–a sore lat muscle in his throwing shoulder. He won’t be ready for Opening Day and may miss the entire month of April. Shocking, I know.
So here’s what I don’t understand…how do guys like Harden, Kyle Farnsworth and Corey Patterson hang around in big league ball? What is it that keeps major league teams coming back for more disappointment, continuously wasting money on untapped potential? Is the talent pool truly this thin? Are there no better options in the minors? I just can’t believe that’s true.